The future of PowerPC web browsing is looking even bleaker with the recent announcement of no plugin support in future releases of TenFourFox.
Mozilla released Firefox 4 in April 2011. This was the first version not to support the PowerPC platform. Luckily, Cameron Kaiser and his team have been back porting newer version of Firefox to PPC Macs in the form of TenFourFox. At writing this the official Firefox is currently at version 21, whereas TenFourFox is sitting at version 17.0.6 (with a beta of 21). Each release of TenFourFox mirrors Firefox as closely as possible.
In version 6, the TenFourFox team disabled plugin support by default, but it could be enabled (instructions here), however, in recent shocking news it appears that plugin support in future versions of TenFourFox will be removed altogether (extensions and add-ons remain).
TenFourFox 17 looks set to be the last version to support plugins. Mozilla removed the support for Carbon and QuickDraw in plugins in Firefox which virtually all PPC-compatible plugins are based on, thus ending the possibility of plugins to continue for PowerPC Macs.
While still having a maintained browser for the foreseeable future, it does mean that Flash support, amongst others, is going to be a no go. This is a huge blow for the PowerPC community.
Flash for PowerPC stopped at version 10.1, with some unofficial 11.1 and 11.5 hacks, and while it is behind the x86 world, it still works for about 90% of the Web.
We’re left in a catch 22 situation: Do you keep an outdated browser to have support for an outdated Flash plugin, or do you upgrade to a newer supported browser version while forsaking Flash altogether.
One thing for sure, this is a sad day for PowerPC users.
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See paragraph 2:
I am using TenFourFox 17.0.6 right now without Plugins, and if I want to use Flash, I just launch Camino. Currently, many videos work without Flash, because of HTML5. (Though many still require Flash.)
That’s indeed sad.
I have a quite new Mac Mini, but I still dream of getting a G5 Quad one day myself. =) Hopefully I’ll be able to browse the internet with it.
Cameron Kaiser also uses the extended release versions of Firefox for TenFourFox. So that is why he is still on version 17. Mozilla started the extended release versions a few years ago when they copied Google Chrome and went with the more frequent update cycle. Business complained that it was driving them crazy with updating machines so they developed the extended cycle, I use both TenFourFox and Camino and have had good luck with them both. HTML 5 helps and I nconsider myself lucky to be able to use a Mac with 10.4 that is 8 years old and appreciate what Cameron has done to keep many old Power Macs useable online. Early Intels will be at the same stage soon if 10.6 support is discontinued by Apple and it is slipping by the wayside.